1827 – Born on October 14th in Lancaster, Massachusetts. James Coolidge Carter was a lawyer and leading legal scholar and philosopher of the late nineteenth century.
1846 – He entered Harvard College.
1850 – An outstanding student, he graduated fourth in his class.
– He then moved to New York City to work as a private tutor and to study law.
1853 – He returned to Cambridge a year later and enrolled in what was then known as the Dane Law School at Harvard, where he graduated.
– Carter was then admitted to the New York state bar and clerked briefly before founding the firm of Scudder and Carter.
1875 – He had a strong interest in municipal reform and he was appointed by the governor to a commission charged with devising a plan of government for the cities of New York State.
1883 – He authored The Proposed Codification of Our Common Law, a widely distributed pamphlet outlining his views, which was influential in the code’s eventual defeat in the state legislature.
1891 – In In re Dupre, 143 U.S. 110, 12 S. Ct. 374, 36 L. Ed. 93, Carter argued that Congress lacked the authority to prohibit as criminal the use of the mails for the circulation of lottery tickets.
1893 – Appeared as counsel for the United States before the Bering Sea Fur-Seal Tribunal of Arbitration.
1894-1895 – Carter achieved national prominence as president of the American Bar Association.
1898 – Carter again argued for a limited government role in Smyth v. Ames, 169 U.S. 466, 18 S. Ct. 418, 42 L. Ed. 819, in which the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether Nebraska could force its railroads to lower their shipping rates in an attempt to ease economic conditions for farmers.
1905 – Carter devoted his time to writing and studying and remained a popular lecturer until his death at the age of seventy-eight.
1907 – He went on to write and speak extensively on the issue of codification throughout his life and his lectures were published after his death as Law: Its Origin, Growth, and Function.